NASA Headquarters has a new political appointee in its employ: Patrick Rhode. He’ll be working on the 9th floor.
For those of you who followed the post-Katrina management fiasco at FEMA you may recall hearing his name. Rhode served as FEMA Director Michael Brown’s Chief of Staff and later, as Acting Deputy Director of FEMA. I am sure the folks at Stennis and Michoud will be thrilled to learn this.
Rhode has no relevant experience with science or technology, and he was a complete disaster at FEMA (where he was equally unqualified). In fact, like a certain NASA appointee who we know all too well around here, his only qualification seems to be his work on previous Bush campaigns. The NASA Watch post offers a variety of relevant media excerpts about Rhode, but this one, from The New Republic, is my favorite:
“Never fear, though: Rhode has covered disasters–as a TV anchor for local network affiliates in Alabama and Arkansas, in which capacity he developed “an acute interest in what responders do in times of crises.” Perhaps not acute enough. He recently said that FEMA’s response to Katrina was “probably one of the most efficient and effective responses in the country’s history.”
Here’s my message for Rhode: You managed to get a cushy, undeserved appointment. Good for you. If you want to keep it, though, stay out of the way, maintain a low profile, and, whatever you do, don’t even think about interfering with NASA science. I’ll be watching you. We all will.
Hat tip to Evolving Thoughts